It's obviously a bit of a slow news week as we wait for the Elite Eight to descend on London. Rumor is that A-Rod will withdraw due to his lingering injuries and if he does then General Sod will replace him. It seems wrong if Andy doesn't compete. Both he and Sod were integral players in the ATP 2009 story.
Thankfully, instead of just living with dead air, tennis journos who, you know, actually have access to players, did a bit of digging over the past few weeks to give us some new and interesting articles on Rafa and Fed.
In Rafa's interview, he talks "openly" about the effect of his parents' divorce on his mentality and how up and down this season has been:
Federer overcame his French Open neurosis to win his 14th grand slam while, three weeks later, he achieved his record-breaking 15th victory at Wimbledon. "It was a hard moment for me," Nadal admits. "I can't play Wimbledon and it's my favourite tournament. I also lost at Roland Garros and I have a few personal problems. So everything coming together made it hard."
Nadal's gaze remains steady as he recounts the source of that turmoil. "My parents' divorce made an important change in my life. It affected me. After that, when I can't play Wimbledon, it was tough. For one month I was outside the world."
Nadal looks terribly young amid that quiet admission. "I am OK now," the 23-year-old says of his parents' divorce, "but you need time to accept. And it's more difficult to accept when you are outside home and don't know what's happening. At least the injury gave me time to be with my friends and family."
He also gave a rather extensive interview that was translated and summarized over at GoToTennis.com.
The Times Online caught up with Roger in Basel and the interview itself is quite good, though the actual writing by Paul Kimmage is haaaaahrible. Was this necessary?
He did not marry a supermodel (Roddick). He does not make fun of his rivals (Novak Djokovic) or pick continually at the crack in his backside (Nadal). He has worse fashion sense than Andy Murray.
But the interview is interesting insofar as it gives Fed the opportunity to process not just 2009, but his entire career. Interestingly, he had this to say about his famous "God, it's killing me" quote:
“That quote . . . was seen the wrong way. The thing that was killing me was having to talk while crying. What I meant was, ‘I wish I could stop crying and could talk normally and give Rafa the stage he deserves and not make everybody feel so bad [for me]’. This was upsetting me more than having lost the match. The last thing I wanted was for people to feel bad for me. I played a great tournament. I was happy with the way I played. I wish I would have won, but I had to accept, and accepted without a problem, that Rafa was better on that day. So it was [misinterpreted].
“I left the court and went on holiday and came back and heard all these things like, ‘He started crying . . . He’s gone . . . This is it . . . The downfall’, and I was like, ‘What?’ I have been crying after losing matches since I was five years old, so to have cried after the loss of a Grand Slam final was normal for me, but there was this big fuss that I didn’t understand. It was almost amusing how it was taken out of proportion.”
Sure, there will be some who'll say he's trying to revise history. But I actually buy this explanation, if for no other reason than that he admits he's a total crybaby and he cries all the time. Hee.
Rafa and Fed both have a chance to end the year at #1 given their results in London. If Fed finishes #1 that'll be expected, but if Rafa finishes #1, wow, what a crazy year.
Remember what JJ the Oracle said: Year End #1 is all that matters.